Nail'd Review (Xbox 360)
Stronger. Harder. Faster.
The tagline for Deep Silver’s new ATV/MTX off-road arcade racing game, Nail’d, gives it well-deserving justice. Though Nail’d may not be the next great game to hit shelves, it does a great job at keeping the gamer entertained and happy -- all at the cheaper cost of $40 rather than the typical $60. But just because this title is fun does not mean it is a top-notch racing title.
When you enter a race, it will be harder to come in last place than first place. The AI is extremely bad and can’t seem to find many ways to win any races. Even crashing often, which will happen, won’t change the outcome. The fact that you win at least 90 percent of the time may be why the game can be so much fun, but it gets old fast.
The physics in Nail’d are absolutely absurd, in a good way. Constant change of direction and high-flying jumps will keep your eyes glued to your television screen. There is also a boost meter that makes you go too fast. Yes, too fast. So fast that you may actually get a headache in a split second.
Riding through pillars and circles of fire fill up the boost meter. The meter also fills when feats such as perfect landings occur.
One problem that the boost meter brings is control. Yes there are a couple customization options that can fix it, but not enough to fix one of the game's biggest problems. Another issue is that going fast does not raise the risk of crashing, it ensures it; trees and boulders jump out of the woodwork and ruin your good times quite often.
Gameplay can be adjusted slightly when using things called Mutators. Mutators will change the way a race is played, but there are only two. One will keep everyone’s boost meter full, and the other allows riders to avoid each other until the finish line. They aren’t very exciting and really don’t affect the race too much, but they can still be entertaining.
When Nail’d said this game is faster, it was not kidding. The way the game presents speed is quite stunning. The 14 courses, 18 if you received the code at purchase, still look stunning, yet blurry, when top speed is achieved.
One of the more interesting, yet annoying, parts of the game is the camera. It is the typical camera that follows behind the rider, but the terrain affects what is seen. If splashing through water, the camera will be splashed causing it harder to see the track. Trudging through mud will lead to similar vision issues, but obviously blotches of mud will be on the screen for a few short seconds rather than water drops. These effects looks great, but they can get in the way and cause an unwanted and unnecessary crash.
Where Are the Modes?
Another knock against Nail’d is the lack of game modes; there aren’t any. First of all this game has zero offline multiplayer options, so for those hoping for some sweet split-screen action, tough luck. Outside of the typical Tournament mode is the standard Exhibition mode.
Within Exhibition mode there are a few options: Time Attack, Quick Event and Custom Tournament. All three options are exactly how they sound, which is disappointing. Inside Quick Event is four more game modes: Simple Race (normal race), Time Challenge, Stunt Challenge and Detonator (only with the retail copy).
Stunt Challenge sounds fun, but it is far from it. Nail’d does not focus on stunts; there are none in the game. In this mode points are gained by filling the boost meter and nailing perfect landings -- arguably the most boring part of the game.
Detonator sounds like it would be exciting as well, but once again fails to live up to the explosive name. In this mode a bomb is thrown between the riders and can only be taken off if they perform a boost feat such as the perfect landing. If the bomb is not taken care of in time, it will go off causing the rider to crash. It does make the race slightly harder to win, which makes this mode one to play more than the others.
Tournament mode is the main mode of play in Nail’d. Once again, not much to it except for winning race after race, unlocking more races and winning the championship.
Sadly the online play is nearly non-existent. Nail’d is a relatively unknown game so there are not many players with the game, which means nobody is online. This really kills the game since online is the only way to experience multiplayer.
Though Nail’d is one of the more entertaining games of the holiday season, it still misses on so many marks. Without the multiplayer experience and smart AI, the game really falls off and misses out on what could have been a great racing game. But still, for the smaller price tag, off-road racing fans should still check the game out.
Simply put, it's a shame the game's tagline was not: Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger.
On the Track: The physics help keep the game enticing at every turn.
Graphics: The courses look fantastic, even more so when in boost mode.
Audio: Fantastic soundtrack headlined by bands such as Slipknot and Rise Against.
Visuals: The weather effects are awesome yet encumbering all at once.
Entertainment Value: Very high, as long as you enjoy playing solo.
Learning Curve: Watch the tutorial and you’ll be a pro.
Online: What online play? There needs to be people to play online.
Score: 5.0 (Average)